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May 4th COVID-19 Update

New COVID-19-related updates for providers of long-term/post-acute care (LTPAC) and senior services continue to be shared on a regular basis by both state and federal authorities. The latest developments are discussed below.

As a reminder, LeadingAge NY continues to convene weekly webinars on Mondays at 11 a.m. to address emerging questions on COVID-19. A recording of our most recent webinar, held on May 3rd, is available here. If you have questions for next week’s update, please send them to Ami Schnauber, and be sure to check your email for the access information, or contact Jeff Diamond.

Cross-Sector Updates

Vaccination Update

The latest vaccination information, including updates on a new Department of Health (DOH) vaccine policy allowing transport of pre-filled syringes, new DOH guidance regarding the resumption of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and resources to combat vaccine hesitancy, is summarized here.

Nursing Home and Adult Care Facility (ACF)/Assisted Living Updates

DOH Issues Revised Guidance on Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions

On May 3rd, DOH issued revised guidance regarding discontinuation of transmission-based precautions for individuals with COVID-19 who are hospitalized or in nursing homes, ACFs, or other congregate settings with vulnerable residents. The guidance supersedes previous guidance issued on April 21, 2020. Click here for more information.

DOH and CMS Provide Clarifications on Visitation, Social Interaction, and Outbreaks

DOH and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have provided clarifications on guidance related to nursing home visitation, social interaction, and outbreaks in response to questions from providers and associations. DOH replied via email to questions posed by LeadingAge NY about outdoor visitation and situations when a staff positive does not trigger an outbreak. Click here for more information.

DOH Issues Reopening Guidance for ACF Day Programs for Non-Residents

On May 4th, DOH issued reopening guidance for ACFs with day programs for non-residents. Previously approved ACF day programs for non-residents that are considering reopening are expected to follow strict standards for infection control for staff and participants. To maintain infection control standards and practices, DOH will use a phased approach to reopening. This will provide the necessary time for such programs to train staff, obtain applicable authorizations from insurances or community physicians, and communicate to participants and families, vendors, and transportation providers. Click here for more information.

DOH Posts Immunization Rates

DOH has begun posting facility-specific COVID-19 vaccination rates for staff and residents of both nursing homes and assisted living facilities on their website. While DOH has been posting average regional and county rates for several months, this marks the first time that individual facility vaccination rates reported through the Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS) are available.

Average county rates and links to the DOH data run can be accessed here. The data are updated on a daily basis. While county rates vary, statewide nursing home staff vaccination rates are at 57 percent, and assisted living staff rates are at 66 percent. Over 83 percent of nursing home residents and 93 percent of assisted living residents have received at least one vaccination.

Any member encountering difficulty in accessing vaccine is asked to contact Meg Everett at meverett@leadingageny.org.

Local Positivity Rates

A document showing the most recent 14-day test positivity rates for each county in New York State based on both federal and state figures is available here. Based on federal data, only 11 counties have test positivity rates above 5 percent. We continue to urge the State to update the requirement for nursing homes across the state to test staff twice weekly. The county positivity data posted by CMS are lagged by a week and are updated each Monday or Tuesday. They are available for download in raw format here. LeadingAge NY extracts the CMS-calculated rates for New York State counties and posts them here, along with positivity rates calculated on state data covering the same two-week period.

Current daily county-level data for New York State are here, 7- and 14-day regional data are here, and ZIP code-level data for New York City showing infection rates during the most recent four weeks are available here. The State’s regional COVID-19 Early Warning Monitoring Dashboard showing new infections, severity of infections, and hospitalization data is available here.

Affordable Housing/Independent Living Updates

New York State Legislature Extends Eviction Moratorium to Aug. 31st

The New York State eviction moratorium that was scheduled to expire on May 1st has been extended to Aug. 31st by the State Senate and Assembly. The extension of the moratorium will go into effect when Governor Cuomo signs the bill into law. Tenants will still be required to file a hardship declaration to qualify for protection under the eviction moratorium. Eviction protections will be extended to Aug. 31st for those tenants who have already filed a hardship declaration.

For those tenants struggling with rent or utility arrears, the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program that was passed and funded as part of the State budget process is expected to begin receiving applications this month. Details of the application process remain unknown as the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) finalizes the details of the rent relief program.

HUD Notifies Owners, Provides Resources on Inspection Restart

More than a year after initially suspending physical inspections due to the COVID-19 emergency, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge has announced significantly increased Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspections, starting June 1st. HUD has since released more information about the restart of inspections, including a memo to Multifamily Housing providers, an Inspector Notice, a Resident Flyer, and a set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Click here for more information from LeadingAge National.